Can addressability keep TV ahead of web?

Addressability technology is what could ensure online doesn’t overtake television advertising as the preferred medium of campaigns, at least for now.  

That’s the argument made by some traditional media consultants who are facing increased competition for campaign budgets — and commissions — from their digital rivals. Addressable ads are currently available in roughly 42 million households through live TV and video-on-demand, according to Ad Age. These households, which may climb to 50 million by December, can be targeted with a specific ad, at a designated time by a marketer.

For digital consultants, TV addressability doesn’t compete with the targeting and return on investment available online. Moreover, Vincent Harris, a GOP consultant with Harris Media LLC, noted that TV viewership is dropping in 18-24 year olds. In five years, he said Thursday at C&E’s CampaignTech East Conference, that demographic is “going to receive everything online.”

Those sort of prophetic declarations are a bridge too far for other consultants. “There is a sense that TV’s dying, TV’s going away. Nothing could be further from the truth,” said Alex Lundry, co-founder of Deep Roots Analytics. “The way you buy TV is very much changing. It’s starting to become competitive with digital in terms of targeting and optimization.”

He cited the ability of showing viewers a specifically tailored ad, although admitted there’s a “creepy factor” to be aware of.

“I think there’s a line,” he said. “Show me something and I’ll tell you if I crossed it over not. I don’t want to see any candidate target themselves into a loss.”

Harris, during a discussion on the evolution of digital consultancies at CampaignTech East, said far too many consultants still dismiss the idea that digital is a worthy investment.

“I think the sad part is that facts don’t put money in the wallets of traditional consultants,” he said.

Harris, who worked for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), said that while digital consultants now have a seat at the table and a line on the conference call, they still have to find a way to better explain their expertise to potential clients.

“I think that there’s a lot of magic now,” said Harris. “People are scared to put their money into something they don’t understand.”


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